Hednesford Town face another local derby tomorrow afternoon when they travel to face the “Bardy Army” at Stratford Town in another Southern League Central encounter.
Last season The Bards did the double over the Pitmen over games that were played only two weeks apart at the end of February and the beginning of March. Firstly, Stratford won the home game 1-0 in a tight encounter that was settled by a stunning strike from former Pitman Ashley Sammons. The return game at Keys Park saw the visitors surge into a 2-0 half time lead, the second goal coming from Leroy Lita. Although the Pitmen pulled one back in the second half the game was lost 2-1, and then 19 days later Lita signed for the Pitmen. Stratford ended the season in 13th place and of course they had their fantastic run to the first round of the FA Cup where they took the lead against League One Shrewsbury Town in a packed Arden Garages stadium but ended up losing the match 5-1.
Stratford Town made a high profile appointment in May by announcing former Wimbledon and Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth as their new manager and coming in with him was his assistant, former Pitman Gavin Hurren.
Stratford Town retained a number of their players from last season and have also made some new signings as well. Defender Josh Kilbride and striker Jake Collins have been promoted from the youth team, and the club also made the signings of strikers Curvin Ellis (Sutton Coldfield) and Jamie Molyneux (Bromsgrove), midfielders Josh Hawker (Halesowen), Lucas Powell (Barwell) and Dexter Walters (Tamworth), right winger Kurtis Revan (Rugby) and defenders James O’Neill and Josh Endall (Stafford) and Paul McCone (Halesowen). There are three former Pitmen in the Stratford squad; McCone and Ashley Sammons, as well as Endall who was with us for a short spell last season.
Stratford have had a similar start to the new season as Hednesford with two draws and one defeat so far. The campaign started with a home match against newly promoted Bedford Town, who equalised in the last two minutes for a 1-1 draw. Then the Bards travelled to St Ives, had the misfortune of an early sending off of Jack Storer and succumbed to a 5-0 defeat before drawing last Monday 2-2 at Redditch despite having taken a two goal lead through Josh Hawker and Will Grocott.
Earlier today Stratford announced the signing of prolific striker Adam Rooney who was most recently at Solihull Moors and played a part in their run to the National League play-off final and he goes straight into the squad for the match tomorrow.
Ground address: The Arden Garages Stadium, Knights Lane, Tiddington, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 7BZ